Over the next year, he lost his three senior academic appointments, including a deanship. Other public appearances, including his Thursday lectures, were banned. He was forbidden to publish new articles. He was summoned for several long `interviews` by Iranian intelligence officials. His travel was restricted, then his passport confiscated.
Abdolkarim Soroush was born in Tehran in 1945. Upon finishing high school, Soroush began studying pharmacy after passing the national entrance exams of Iran. After completing his degree, he soon left Iran for London in order to continue his studies and to become familiar with the modern world.
In 1983, owing to certain differences which emerged between him and the management of the Teacher Training College, he secured a transfer to the Institute for Cultural Research and Studies where he has been serving as a research member of staff until today. He submitted his resignation from membership in the Cultural Revolution Council to Imam Khomeini and has since held no official position within the ruling system of Iran, except occasionally as an advisor to certain government bodies. His principal position has been that of a researcher in the Institute for Cultural Research and Studies.
It was after receiving a master's degree in analytical chemistry from University of London that he went to Chelsea College, (a constituent college of the University of London which was merged with two other constituent colleges: Queen Elizabeth College and Kings College in 1985) for studying history and philosophy of science. During these years, confrontation between the people and the Shah's regime was gradually becoming more serious, and political gatherings of Iranians in America and Europe, and Britain in particular, were on the increase. Soroush, too, was thus drawn into the field.
Soroush's ideas have met with strong opposition from conservative elements in the Islamic Republic. Both he and his audiences were assaulted by Ansar-e Hezbollah vigilantees in the mid-1990s. A law imposing penalties on anyone associating with enemies of the Islamic republic is thought by his allies to have been at least in part provoked by some of Soroush's lectures and foreign affiliations.
During the 90s, Soroush gradually became more critical of the political role played by the Iranian clergy. The monthly magazine that he cofounded, Kiyan, soon became the most visible forum in post-revolution Iran for religious intellectualism. In this magazine he published his most controversial articles on religious pluralism, hermeneutics, tolerance, clericalism, etc. The magazine was clamped down in 1998 among with many other magazines and newspapers by the direct order of the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic. About a thousand audio tapes of speeches by Soroush on various social, political, religious and literary subjects delivered all over the world are widely in circulation in Iran and elsewhere. Soon, he not only became subject to harassment and state censorship, but also lost his job and security. His public lectures at universities in Iran are often disrupted by hardline Ansar-e-Hizbullah vigilante groups who see his intellectual endeavours as being mainly motivated by anti-regime politics rather than theology per se.
From the year 2000 Abdulkarim Soroush has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University teaching Rumi poetry and philosophy, Islam and Democracy, Quranic Studies and Philosophy of Islamic Law. Also a scholar in residence in Yale University, he taught Islamic Political Philosophy at Princeton University in the 2002-3 academic year. From 2003-4 he served as a visiting scholar at the Wissenschaftkolleg in Berlin. He spent the fall semester of 2007 at Columbia University and the spring semester of 2008 at Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs as a visiting scholar. In the winter of 2012, he was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago teaching Intellectual and Religious History of Modern Iran.
In 2008, in an online open poll, Soroush was voted the 7th topmost intellectual person in the world on the list of Top 100 Public Intellectuals by Prospect Magazine (UK) and Foreign Policy (United States).
Democracy where coincides with certain things, it can be secular or religious. Hence, what alters the hue and color of democracy is a society’s specific characteristics and elements. Religious democracy is an Example of how democratic values can exist in a different cultural elaboration than what is usually known before. But, in a secular society, some other characteristic is deemed important and focused on, and that becomes the basis for democracy.